PENNSYLVANIA'S DEPARTMENT OF STATE MEDICAL BOARDS HAVE FAILED TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY UNDER THE RIDGE / SCHWEIKER ADMINISTRATION
The Pennsylvania Department of State's Medical Boards are tasked with protecting the public health and safety. That responsibility in fact, is the very basis for their existence. A performance check, however, reveals the Boards under the current Ridge / Schweiker administration have failed miserably in fulfilling that obligation. Their score on disciplinary / licensure action against Pennsylvania based physicians on primary charges of medical malpractice, negligence, and incompetence is nil. Yet if you write them a letter requesting information on disciplinary actions, they will reply with numbers and charts indicating otherwise. The truth is those numbers are deceiving, for about half of the total represents doctors living and practicing in other states, with disciplinary / licensure action initiated by the medical boards from those states. The remainder represent disciplinary / licensure action taken against doctors for violations of federal, state, or local laws or regulations, Board of Medicine mandates, licensing violations, educational inadequacies etc. Notably absent from this list are disciplinary / licensure actions against doctors on charges more closely associated with harm or death of patients. They will not, for example discipline a doctor for altering medical records in conjunction with the death of a patient, but they will if he or she alters them in conjunction with billing Medicare. They will cite malpractice / negligence in some cases involving other charges, but it appears to be as a result of convenience to support their case on those other charges.
The situation I've described does not come about by chance. It's politics at its worst. Special interest groups, in this case, doctor and hospital organizations, have forged their will with this administration over the safety of medical consumers. To make matters worse, when medical liability insurance premiums rose, likely due in part to the current administration's failure to discipline doctors on true public safety charges, these same groups and their legislative accomplices were quick to attack our constitutional rights to hold doctors accountable. My discovery of the conditions I've described came about as a result of my mother's untimely death, and my eventual discovery of what appears to be a combination of medical negligence, incompetence, and alteration of medical records on the part of her physician. For those of you who are questioning why I didn't take the doctor to court on malpractice charges, I assure you I tried. At the time I attempted to find an attorney to take the case, I was as naive as you probably are right now. I assumed that the merits of the case were all that mattered. That, however, is not the situation. Past legislative gains by doctors organizations have made it extremely difficult to hold doctors accountable in court, or even find an attorney for many victims of medical malpractice/negligence.
The details and support for the statements I have made thus far are contained within this web site. Please click on the links to find them. The information is structured vertically in links pretty much as I created them, beginning with the narrative which follows this paragraph, followed by the links from the top in chronological order. It's a diary of sorts of my quest to hold this doctor accountable. If you read it, unless you are a politician or a malpractice attorney, you will likely make discoveries I had to find out the hard way.
I had always assumed my parentís physician would do a better job than I could at protecting their medical well being. Sadly, I was wrong. I believe my mother would be alive today if my parents, on February 5, 1997, had gone to a hospital emergency room instead of the office of Lebanon, Pa. area physician Robert Lester Barton. Had they done so, I'm confident my mother would have been given a cardiology test commensurate with her risk factors and symptoms.
If a licensed physician cannot be depended upon to properly synchronize the diagnosis of coronary artery disease with the available testing procedures to determine its presence, should that physician have a license to practice medicine? When a licensed physician fails to act upon a patient's life threatening symptoms and risk factors, despite numerous opportunities to do so over a long period of time, should the public be warned of this type of nonperformance? And if that physician retains a medical license in spite of these lapses, how do we protect the public from the risks associated with these failures? It is the purpose of this web page to try to find ways to prevent tragedies like this from happening again. I hope to bring the information of my mother's case before local and state legislators and medical officials in the hope of using enforceable regulations as a means of meeting this goal. I intend to use this web page to report on my progress in this endeavor.